After watching the first episode of the new series of Misfits at the BFI Southbank, we were waiting for the aforementioned group of oddballs to get their shit together so we could actually interview them. Suddenly Robert Sheehan’s head appeared around the door and he emerged – half-full bottle of Becks in hand – to greet us. “Hello members of the press!” he said loudly with a smile. Two things immediately went through my mind: were they going to be doing this thing in character? and was there going to be free beer?
Unfortunately the answer to both questions was no. It was a shame about the beer, but thankfully most of the young actors who make up the cast of Misfits were utterly inseperable from their on-screen muses. The girl who plays Alisha sounds a little posher in real life, but apart from that, it’s as you were. Nathan Stewart-Jarret (Curtis) is rather quiet, Lauren Socha (Kelly) is a self-confessed chav, Iwan Rheon (Simon) looks like a painfully-fashionable indie intellectual and Robert Sheehan (Nathan) is a fool and a showman. In a nice way. But they’re all on the verge of the big time now, thanks to Howard Overman’s cult E4 drama.
“What was rare about Howard’s scripts is that they were genuinely laugh-out-loud funny, they came off the page,” says Sheehan, the de facto leader of the group. “A script is a very aggressive format to read any kind of story in, it’s like: ‘Exterior – house. A man approaches’ and none of the production design has gone in and it’s all completely stripped raw, but these stories were hilariously funny. And I think team behind the camera have really helped beef up the drama of the show to make it quite serious at some points and funny at others, so you have this massively fluctuating mood throughout each episode. Which is rare..”
We were later joined by Mr Overman himself, who ruled out the chance of a Misfits Movie with the confidence of a man who clearly isn’t struggling for offers. “I think the whole thing works very well as it is, cinematically it looks excellent already thanks to Tom (producer Tom Green) so I don’t see what the point of charging everyone a tenner to see rehashed version of what they already have for free. Sure we could all make a few quid..” he explains, before he’s interupted by an exasperated Sheehan. “Maybe we should do it?!” he teases, to the mirth of his colleagues. Overman smiles and goes on to explain that they wanted to create a very British drama by making the characters and relationships more important than their super-powers (“We always saw them as utterly secondary..”) It’s a technique that has worked.
“Yeah the relationships are important,” says Antonia Thomas, who plays the the girl with Jolie-esque powers of attraction. “But sometimes I’d see something in the script and I’d ask: ‘Tom, are you sure we need to do this?’… ‘The viewers will love it!’ he’d say.” They all get their fair share of action, but Alishia still gets more groping in than the rest of them.
“It was the ADR (automated dialogue replacement) that really did my head in,” says Lauren. “I had to stand in a booth doing sex noises, in front of the whole team. I’m quite… well I won’t say prudish. In fact I’m not prudish at all. But to make it sound believeable when this lot are making faces at you is quite difficult.”
You can’t imagine Robert Sheehan getting embarrassed about anything, but he claims that applying sun-block to his near-naked body in the windown of a busy community centre for a scene in the second episode was uncomfortable. “What are you talking about. You loved it!” laughs Nathan. “Maybe it looked like I did!” comes the reply, “but I can assure you, I was dying of insecurity on the inside. And trying my best to flex!”
After claiming a BAFTA award for the first series last year, (“We didn’t expect to win and our category was first up, so we were necking copious amounts of free champagne when it was announced..” – guess who) you get the sense that these young actors really do have an overriding love and loyalty for the show. But what can we expect from the second series?
“Well my character becomes more a part of the gang and he’s not so much of an outsider now, which is nice,” says Iwen. “Because the characters are a bunch of people that wouldn’t necessarily be friends, I think they now have a very special bond.”
“None of them would ever admit it, but they are really the best of friends. They’re all quite ashamed in a way to say that they’re all friends, but deep down they really need each other. They’re so different from each other, they really are the Misfits!” They certainly are. But it definitely fits.